(L-to R) Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD; Public Health Honoree Dr. Adam Weissman; Special Recognition Award Winner Dr. Ray Sanchez;  Dr. Harold Keltz Distinguished Award Winner/Westchester Library System Development Director Pat Brigham; JR Tesone Youth Award Winner and YPIE Director Sam Wallis; YPIE Tech Squad Member Nicholas Marji; YPIE Tech Squad Member Gabriel Veras; Commissioner's Award Winner Renee Garrick, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Westchester Medical Center; JR Tesone Winner Jacob Feldman; Dr. Harold Keltz Distinguished Award Winner Petula Griffith, RN; Board of Health President Robert Baker, MD.

(Photo L-to R) Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD; Public Health Honoree Dr. Adam Weissman; Special Recognition Award Winner Dr. Ray Sanchez; Dr. Harold Keltz Distinguished Award Winner/Westchester Library System Development Director Pat Brigham; JR Tesone Youth Award Winner and YPIE Director Sam Wallis; YPIE Tech Squad Member Nicholas Marji; YPIE Tech Squad Member Gabriel Veras; Commissioner's Award Winner Renee Garrick, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Westchester Medical Center; JR Tesone Winner Jacob Feldman; Dr. Harold Keltz Distinguished Award Winner Petula Griffith, RN; Board of Health President Robert Baker, MD.

Together with County Executive George Latimer, the Westchester County Board of Health presented the 2022 Public Health Awards today, recognizing outstanding contributions to public health in Westchester by three adults, 23 students and six organizations and celebrated the accomplishments of the public health community.

Latimer said: “These awards help us highlight the important role that public health plays to preserve, protect and promote the health of Westchester residents. We have a much keener understanding and appreciation today for the importance of public health and for the people who look out for the health of our population. With their extraordinary concern for others, these volunteers set an example for all of us. I congratulate the winners and I encourage other residents to follow in their footsteps.”

Latimer thanked the volunteer members of the Westchester County Board of Health for safeguarding the County’s health, along with Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, and the staff of the Health Department.

Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, presented a Commissioner’s Award to Renee Garrick, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Westchester Medical Center: “I am grateful to you for your leadership and collaboration, and I value our ongoing partnership with Westchester’s leading medical institutions and your talented staff.”

Board of Health President Robert Baker, MD, presented the 2022 Dr. Harold Keltz Distinguished Public Health Service Awards to Petula Griffith, RN, and to the Westchester Library System. Griffith, a White Plains nurse, provided pro bono foot, nail and skin care to seniors, homeless individuals and residents at a women’s shelter in White Plains.

Dr. Baker said: “We are grateful to all the honorees and to our community partners for their dedication to helping the Health Department promote, protect and improve public health in Westchester. This is an inspiring and accomplished group we are proud to honor.”

The Westchester Library System was recognized for its innovative Westchester Breathes program, which delivered Zoom workshops on breathing, mindfulness and movement techniques designed to reduce toxic stress and trauma among residents and vulnerable populations.

Elena Falcone, Director of Public Innovation and Engagement for the Westchester Library System, said: "Being able to teach these exercises for reducing stress and increasing calm has felt like sharing a superpower, one that makes it easier for all community members to feel better and think clearly.  All part of what we do to empower individuals and communities."

The Board awarded the 2022 J.R. Tesone Youth Public Health Service Awards to the Yonkers Partners in Education Tech Squad, and to Jacob Feldman of Bedford Corners. The 22 high school students who comprise the YPIE Tech Squad coached dozens of senior citizens on how to use their computers, smart phones and iPads to connect with family and friends during the pandemic, and registered homebound seniors for in-home COVID-19 vaccines.

Sam Wallis, YPIE Executive Director, said: “Thanks to the Westchester County Board of Health for recognizing the Yonkers students who participated in the Yonkers Partners in Education (YPIE) Tech Squad. During the pandemic, these students helped seniors in the Yonkers community stay connected with their loved ones and schedule vaccine appointments.  We are very proud of these students and the positive impact they have had on their community.”

Feldman is a junior at Fox Lane High School and a dedicated volunteer with the Northern Westchester Hospital’s President’s Junior Leadership Council, a student group committed to improving the health, safety and well-being of youth in northern Westchester. Among other efforts, Feldman supported youth mental health by developing a school wellness curriculum, served with the Feeding Westchester mobile food pantry and entertained children at a pediatric COVID-19 vaccine clinic.

Derek Anderson, executive director at Northern Westchester Hospital, said: “Jacob has been an inspiration to everyone he meets and to our community. We are so proud to have such a dedicated and thoughtful young man involved in our hospital efforts to improve the health of children and ultimately families in Northern Westchester County. I suspect this isn’t the first, nor last award and accolade Jacob has and will receive in his life.”

Dr. Baker said: “The Board also recognizes a Public Health Honoree, the Child & Family Institute. This Scarsdale-based behavioral health agency provided much needed free and low-cost behavioral health care to nearly 1,000 underserved families during the pandemic. We are thankful for the important work you do.”

For the crucial response to the COVID-19 pandemic, for informing and protecting their school communities, Westchester school officials were honored with two Special Recognition Awards presented to the Chief School Administrators of Southern Westchester and the Chief School Administrators of Northern Westchester.

Westchester Medical Center was the recipient of a Special Recognition Award for its crucial COVID-19 pandemic response, which included vaccinating, testing and compassionately caring for Westchester residents.